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The joy of a good keyboard

My el cheapo all-plasic keyboard died to day in a bizarre accident involving cous-cous and chicken curry.

On my way home a stoped at a local "factory outlet" store where they sell mostly crap in all sizes and shapes, but to my surprise, I also found some solid keyboards. They were cheap, have metal bottom plate and really tactile keys.
I bought four of them. They are a joy to use.

I never realised it before actually, but clearly, the keybord is important to the general ergonomy. Not as important as a good chair or screen perhaps, but more so than the mouse I think.

I wont put food into these.

Eric Debois
Friday, April 16, 2004

"a bizarre accident involving cous-cous and chicken curry"

Sounds great!  I always love bizarre accidents.  Usually if told w/ the right amount of seriousness and detail, they are absolutely hysterical.

Friday, April 16, 2004

If you have never used an old IBM Selectric electric typewriter, try one. You will find out what a real keyboard is like!

Old Time Typist
Friday, April 16, 2004

Eric: Brand and model?

Ethan Herdrick
Friday, April 16, 2004

No brand, no model, just says made in china.  Like I said, I was surprised to find them in that store.

And elephant, the bizarre thing about this accident was that I dropped the keyboard into the food and not the other way around.

Eric Debois
Friday, April 16, 2004

Keep the ruined keyboard !  All my old ones are stored as emergency food supplies, in case of another national outsourcing disaster.

Joe Hendricks
Friday, April 16, 2004

And man, those Selectrics were built like friggin' TANKS.  I used to imagine that, after a nuclear apocalypse, the landscape would be reduced to piles of smoking rubble punctuated by intact IBM Selectrics here & there.

Ah, for the era of "good American machines": Zippo lighters, Checker cabs, DC-3s, Cross pens - stuff that just kept working & working & working...

- former car owner in Queens
Friday, April 16, 2004

The annoying thing about the above comment is that it is basicly true. Its not limited to american stuff either.
Something very fishy must have happend  to how stuff is engineered and manufactured during the 70's or so.

Actually, come to think of it "the good stuff" was probably built in the era where eletronic and mechnical engineering had been mastred, but before the introduction of digital/micro scaled electronics?

Eric Debois
Friday, April 16, 2004

I didn't mean to suggest that EVERYTHING from that era was great, or that only the US was/is capable of producing outstanding manufactured goods. 

The moniker "good American machines" came from an article in (IIRC) the short-lived and long-defunct US edition of GEO magazine (man, really showing my age there - circa early '80s) about a few things that exemplified the US industrial base at its best, and had attained the status of cultural icons.  The mention of the Selectric brought that article to mind.

- former car owner in Queens
Friday, April 16, 2004

For any of you looking for those classic 'click' IBM keyboards:

or more precisely:

I found them shortly after the death of my IBM PS/2 keyboard.  They are the real thing.

"Unicomp is a keyboard manufacturer located in the heart of Bluegrass Country, Lexington, Kentucky. Yes, we are a fairly new company; but if you know IBM or if you know Lexmark International, you already know a good bit about us. Unicomp was started in April, 1996 when we purchased keyboard technology from Lexmark International. You may recall that Lexmark manufactured the high quality keyboards for IBM computers and terminals prior to 1996. "

Friday, April 16, 2004

Or google for IBM Model M. 

Friday, April 16, 2004

A lot of the "good stuff" was just because plastics were flimsy back then, so there weren't many materials to use besides sheet metal. That's why Selectrics are so solid (and heavy as hell).

Friday, April 16, 2004

I also believe a lot more stuff (at least consumer-level stuff)  from 20+ years ago was designed to be serviceable, rather than merely replaceable.  This is subjective, of course, but it certainly seems to me that the emphasis has shifted from "build-solidly-and-evolve-design-over-time" to "build-as-cheaply-and-as-quickly- as-possible- because-you'll-be-replacing-it-soon-anyway".

Put another way: things were put together with *screws*, so you could disassemble & reassemble as needed,  instead of today's nearly-ubiquitous seamless snap-together plastic housings that are difficult or impossible to disassemble even once without breaking.

(iPod battery, anyone?)

- former car owner in Queens
Friday, April 16, 2004

Those IBM keyboards are WAY TOO LOUD.  So loud I even annoy myself when I'm typing with one.


Mr Fancypants
Friday, April 16, 2004

I give blood once a fortnight (plasma actually) and I sit as they take my details and click it all into their computer. It has a green tube monitor, and yes those cute squeaky click keyboards.

I find it hilarious, no this is not some nostalgic computer geek, this is a nurse whose department does not have the funds to buy anything better.

Though on another note, a prefect example of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" rule. Those machines just don't die.

Aussie Chick
Friday, April 16, 2004

Just for the record:

Generic Beige Keyboard PS2 -> £4.11 (VAT included)

EnduraPro 104  -> $99
(from )

Saturday, April 17, 2004

So nobody is interested in the Logitech or Microsoft market champions keyboards?

Cristian Cheran
Saturday, April 17, 2004

I think the MS Natural Keyboards are great, and so do a large number of other posters to this forum.

Incidentally, why do optical mice lose precision? It seems to have something to do with gunge collection on the rubber feet, but I am not even getting a days relief by cleaning them now.

Stephen Jones
Saturday, April 17, 2004

I received a generic made-in-China with my ABS desktop a few years ago. 

I really like it -- it has a few extra function keys that I like (volume up/volume/mute are very handy) without the have-a-special-function-key-for-everything excess that many consumer keyboards have.  The tactile sensation is great, although maybe I've just become habituated to it.  It's reaching its end of life, and if I knew where to buy another, I would.

Robert Jacobson
Saturday, April 17, 2004

s/b "made-in-China keyboard..."

Robert Jacobson
Saturday, April 17, 2004

I've never seen an optical mouse lose precision. Could it be that the surface you're using it on is subject to abrasion by mouse and hand movements? If it's getting too smooth the optical sensor might no longer be able to track movements.

Chris Nahr
Sunday, April 18, 2004

No, it is true that optical mice can have crud collect on the feet; I've had it happen too.  But it's easy enough to scrape off; I use the end of a mechanical pencil (with the lead retracted).  It's a heck of a lot easier than scraping the crud off the rollers inside a ball mouse (which I'm doing my best to never use again).

Sunday, April 18, 2004

I've been using one of these for two weeks:

It's great.

Chris Newcombe
Sunday, April 18, 2004

Speaking of the old "good stuff":

Just my theory on why I always hear
people say things like: "Oh they don't build them like they used to". All the crappy old stuff that wasn't worth a damn doesn't exist any more, the poorly built old buildings have been demolished and replaced, and all that remains are the well built older buildings and the new buildings.

On a somewhat related note,
why aren't there any good new movies in the theatres ?
Because there can only be a handful of good movies each year, so what's the chance that the one movie you go watch of the thousands made that year will be one of the 3 classics, practically nil.

Sorry for the tangents,
I prefer logitech cordless mice/keyboards myself

Hani Obaid
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

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